India v Zimbabwe: Suresh Raina century ruins Brendan Taylor farewell
Last Updated: 16/03/15 9:02am
Brendan Taylor’s farewell ton for Zimbabwe proved in vain as Suresh Raina’s fifth one-day hundred earned unbeaten India a six-wicket victory in Auckland.
Stand-in skipper Taylor struck 138 off 110 balls to register his eighth ODI century – the highest number scored by any Zimbabwean – to propel his side to 287 all out in 48.5 overs.
When India slipped to 92-4 in reply it appeared that Taylor’s second successive hundred in the tournament might prove the match-winning innings in his last international match.
But Raina - dropped on 48 by Hamilton Masakadza - wrecked those hopes with a mature 110no, sharing an unbeaten stand of 196 with captain MS Dhoni (85no), who struck a six to see India to their target with eight balls left.
The chase was India’s highest successful effort in World Cup history and their 10th World Cup win in a row.
Raina struck nine fours and four sixes off 104 balls, while Dhoni once again delivered when the pressure was firmly on, striking eight fours and two sixes off 76 deliveries as the pair put on a record fifth-wicket partnership for India against Zimbabwe.
With Zimbabwe already unable to qualify from the group stage and India through to face Bangladesh in Melbourne on Thursday little hung on the result.
But the defending champions needed to show their mettle after losing early wickets in their chase.
Rohit Sharma (16 off 21) was the first to go, caught in the covers off Tinashe Panyangara, before the seamer bowled opener Shikhar Dhawan for just four.
Ajinkya Rahane (19) helped to steady the ship in a 50-run partnership with Virat Kohli until he was run out by Sikandar Raza’s sharp throw to Taylor.
Zimbabwean hopes were raised still further when Sikandar Raza bowled Kohli around his legs but there were to be no further breakthroughs as the partnership between Raina and Dhoni proved unbreakable.
Earlier Taylor had walked to the crease with Zimbabwe struggling at 13-2 after being put in to bat, following the departure of openers Hamilton Masakadza and Chamu Chibhabha.
The 29-year-old – who has signed a three-year deal to play for Nottinghamshire – glued the innings together and received solid support from Sean Williams, who contributed 50 off 57 balls in a valuable fourth-wicket stand of 93, and Craig Ervine (27).
Taylor added 109 for the fifth wicket with Ervine and went on to reach his hundred off 99 balls but Zimbabwe were unable to bat their full allocation as Mohammad Shami (3-48), Umesh Yadav (3-43) and Mohit Sharma (3-48) chipped away.
"It was nice to get partnerships and build some momentum, but I reckon we are about 30-40 (runs) short," said Taylor after his knock.
"Anything over 300 would have been definitely competitive, especially when you know what you are up against. We feel we're a bit short there in the end."
Watch highlights of India’s win over Zimbabwe at 12pm, 3pm, 5pm and 7pm. Highlights with Hindi commentary are available on Zee Cinema (channel 790).